My Shopping List

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The impending ban on regular plastic carry bags in Queensland has created a definite upswing in interest in alternatives.

There will be heavy duty plastic bags for sale, however, these are really no better as very few people seriously reuse them and the inherent problems still exist – the use of non-renewable resources to create the plastic and the waste which invariably ends up in waterways and the oceans.

Many of the so-called ‘reuseable bags’ are also derived from plastic and are far from ideal.

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You can make your own fabric bags (preferably from second-hand or salvaged fabric) or buy from groups such as your local Boomerang Bag group.  Otherwise, grab a cardboard box or two to stack your groceries.

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Beyond these obvious choices, there has been much discussion, both online and in real life, about the impact of the changes.

But what will I use to line my bin?
The fabric bag won’t fit the metal packing rack?
There is no space to pack my groceries?

And so on………

All of these questions are valid.  We need to think outside the box and perhaps change some other habits.

The first thing that springs to mind is reducing waste so that there is less or no need for bin liners.

Secondly, is about how you shop, what you buy and where you buy it.  This is what I want to discuss today.

In an online forum, I recently mentioned that I bought very little at the supermarket and could generally place it directly in my cloth bag as it was scanned through the checkout.  I place the handle over one arm and with the other hand I load the items into the bag.  I think this comment raised some interest about how I actually achieve this.

The most important tip is make the supermarket your last resort.

Eat simply, cook from scratch, grow some of your own food, support local small businesses, buy in bulk, buy online, buy at Farmer’s/Growers markets and finally, go to the supermarket.

I do not shop at either of the two major supermarkets here in Australia, Coles and Woolworths.

We live near a small town with a Woolworths and an IGA supermarket.  I buy a few things at the IGA and also go to the local butcher and our Co-op which stocks a wide range of organic products from both Australia and overseas.  Most of my supermarket shopping is done at Aldi which is about 10km away in a different direction.  The fruit and vegetable vendor that I go to is not far from Aldi.  I buy the majority of my dry goods at a family-owned shop with bulk bins.  It is about 45km away so I plan my trips and stock up about twice a year.

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By shopping at small, independent retailers you will find it much easier to use and pack your own bags as there is generally more counter space, less pressure and the seller will probably be much more supportive of your decision.  I also take my own containers/bags to have them refilled in almost all instances but that is a discussion for another day.

To give you an idea of what I buy and where I buy it, I have created the following lists of everything I buy, including food and non-food items.

I have not included fruit and vegetables from the greengrocer as this is seasonal and depends on my planned meals for the week as well as what is growing in the garden.

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Butcher

Beef mince
Diced beef
Bacon
Chicken breast fillets
Gravy beef

IGA supermarket

Vita Brits
Taco shells
Salmon
Olives
Salami
Cleaning vinegar
Soda Stream gas canisters

Co-op

Brown rice
Olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
Tamari
Coffee
Honey
Shampoo
Conditioner
Face wash
Moisturiser

Simply Good

Bread flour (white)
Wholemeal flour
Rye flour
Potato flour
Brown rice flour
Chickpea flour
Quinoa flour
Arrowroot
Almond meal
Flaxseed meal
Corn meal
Raw sugar
Pepitas
Sunflower seeds
Flax seeds
Almonds
Peanuts
Walnuts
Chickpeas
Kidney beans
Black beans
Haricot beans
Red lentils
Brown lentils
Sultanas
Raisins
Mixed peel
Cocoa
Coconut
Psyllium husk
Chia seeds
Quinoa
Bicarb soda
Herbs
Spices
Salt
Pepper

Aldi

Vegemite
Corn chips
Cheese
Butter
Milk
Sausages
Toothpaste
Toothbrushes
Cat food (tinned)
Cat food (dry)
Frozen peas
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
White vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Tuna in springwater
Flavoured tuna
Baked beans
Corn kernels
Coconut cream
Curry paste
Stock powder
Tinned tomatoes
Rice cakes
Rice crackers
Ice-cream
Skim milk powder

Online

Tea
Dog food
Eucalyptus oil

Direct from manufacturer (local)

Laundry liquid
Enzyme soaker
Dishwashing liquid
Dishwasher powder

I am sure you can see items missing from the lists, so please feel free to ask questions.  It may be that we simply do not use it or that I make it myself.  For example, I make tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, jam, peanut paste, onion flakes, pasta, pizza bases and GMan makes bread.

 

Foodie Friday – A Shopping List

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Shopping lists are an essential ingredient if you are to have an organised approach to planning and preparing nutritious meals for your family.  They were around long before the days of personal organisers, smartphones and endless ‘to do’ lists.  My mother has always written her list on the back of a used envelope and I tend to use some sort of scrap or excess paper.

I imagine that the process of writing a list goes back to when shopping day was a major expedition, perhaps by horse and buggy, and it was vital to buy everything that was required for a month or longer.  No popping into the supermarket after work to pick up something for dinner and ending up with $50 worth of impulse buys.

Each week I buy fresh fruit and vegetables for the week plus a few basic items that I need from the supermarket. Although I write a list every week, it really comes into its own when I shop for pantry staples at Simply Good.  I try to do this about every 3 – 5 months as it is a 90km round trip.  I am not using a horse and buggy but I do have a regard for both the environmental impact of driving that distance as well as my time and energy.

Last Saturday was a big shopping day so we set out early.  Our first stop was Simply Good, followed by Aldi, fruit and vegetable stall, the local butcher and finally the Co-op.  I checked the pantry and refrigerator before writing a comprehensive list to ensure that nothing was forgotten.  The list does vary from time to time but this will give you a broad idea of the sorts of ingredients I buy.

Shopping list
As you can see, most of what we eat is whole foods cooked from scratch so I am buying ingredients – not meals.   We eat a gluten-free diet and some of the items reflect this choice.

Next week I will show you my pantry and discuss the storage and organisation which works for me.

My Choices

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This afternoon I left work early (3pm) and did the shopping on the way home.  Simply Good where I buy most of my dry goods (flour, seeds, nuts and dried fruit) is only open until 5 pm on weekdays and 9am – 12md on Saturday.  I am happy to support these traditional opening hours that allow retail staff to spend time with their families, however, I do have to be organised as it is about 40km away from where we live.  Since it is on my way to work I decided to drive my car to the railway station nearest to the shop and then do my shopping on the return journey.

I stocked up on all of my usual supplies as well as a couple of extras for some Christmas cooking and I am hoping that I will not need to go again until the New Year.  Aldi supermarket was my next stop and I was particularly to find that the cat food (fish varieties) was back in stock.  Finally, a few things from the fruit and vegetable stall and I was home.  By this time it was almost 6pm but still daylight for another 40 minutes.

When I arrived home I checked for mail, collected the rubbish and recycling bins that had been emptied.  Next it was down to the backyard where I let the chickens out for a run, watered the vegetable gardens and weeded the small bed where the lettuce seedlings are becoming established.  I picked lettuces, collected eggs and organised fresh feed and water for the chickens.

Collect the washing from the line, turn the plastic bags which were drying on the airer, unpack the groceries and decant the loose nuts, seeds etc into their relevant jars.

Then it was time to cut up the chicken and vegetables for the stir-fry and make the sauce.

While I was doing all this it occurred to me that most of these chores exist because of choices I have made, but I would not have it any other way.

I could throw out the plastic bags, put the wet washing in a tumble drier, buy my eggs and all vegetables from the supermarket, buy ready-made prepared meals and convenience foods but I choose not and I am very happy with my choices.